Most people know that a criminal defense attorney represents people who have been charged with criminal activities…but what can they really accomplish for people? In criminal TV shows, attorneys tend to turn up a lot at police interrogations, but their real-world work and goals are rarely portrayed. A real criminal defense attorney will seek several different goals for their client, including:
A dismissal leads to all charges being dropped and the judge dismissing the case entirely. There are several reasons that a dismissal can happen. Sometimes an attorney may be able to present evidence that shows the charges are illogical, in which case they will be dropped. In other cases, if evidence is mishandled or if police offers break the law, there are also sufficient grounds for a full dismissal. This is one reason legal advice can be so valuable: Attorneys can catch the errors and issues that can lead to a dismissal, where defendants may miss them.
A conditional dismissal also leads to the dismissal of all charges, but it depends on meeting specific conditions. Often these conditions are put in place to prevent similar activities from taking place in the future. One of the simplest example is a driving ticket: A court may be willing to dismiss the ticket entirely, as long as the person charged with the ticket attends traffic school. The dismissal still holds many advantages – namely, the charges will never appear on any record or background check.
In more serious criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney may seek a trial. There are several reasons for this. The attorney may want a chance to examine evidence and interview witnesses, especially if it seems likely that the court would reach a desired verdict. An attorney may also see advantages is seeking a trial by jury. Discussing the details of the case thoroughly and truthfully is particularly important when a lawyer is considering the case for a trial.
Reduction of Charges:
In other cases, an attorney may seek a reduction of charges. Here the attorney will present evidence and argue that not all of the original charges properly apply to his or her client, and ask that some, but not all, of those charges be dismissed. If the charges are reduced by the court, the court can no longer convict and sentence based on any of the charges that have been dropped. This can lead to lighter penalties and a better criminal record for the client.
Deferred adjudication occurs when a defendant pleads guilty or no contest in an effort to avoid formal conviction. This is similar to a conditional dismissal, but is typically used for more serious charges and does not necessarily guarantee a dismissal. Here common results include probation, community service, or treatment. Afterward, the defendant may have the case dismissed or their record expunged, depending on the circumstances.
The phrase “mitigating circumstances” is often used in these cases, when attorneys seek leniency when it comes to the court’s decision. Here guilt is often not questioned by the attorney, but specific details about the case allow for special treatment. The defendant may be a minor, may have been a culpable victim, may not have a criminal record, or various other situations where the court may be willing to lighten the sentence. Consult with Petter Barrett Criminal Defense Attorney to see if you have grounds for conditional dismissal or mitigation.